By Amy Kathleen Ryan
Expected publication September 27, 2011 by St. Martin's Griffin
Every other book at ALA was billed as "the next Hunger Games." Well, I still haven't read Hunger Games (yes, you may boo and hiss), so that doesn't mean too much to me. This book was no exception.
Kieran and Waverly are two young lovers aboard a ship bound for New Earth. They've been traveling all their lives, tending the heirloom crops and learning about their mission. This day will be different, though. This day the New Horizon, another ship bound for New Earth that left a year earlier, appears through their windows. And this will change everything in Kieran and Waverly's lives.
Okay, I'm just going to say it: this book takes place in space AND I LIKED IT. That is huge. I hate space - I don't watch movies or TV shows that take place there and I usually don't read too many books with space as their setting. I don't know why this is; it's just never appealed to me. And I had an especially scarring experience with Ender's Game last fall so my dislike for all things space only deepened. However, I'm also willing to give most anything a shot so I didn't hesitate to try this novel. I'm glad I did, because I really enjoyed it. It was a compelling and intriguing read that I didn't want to end. I think what I liked most about this novel was the backstory - I really liked the history that Ryan created for this story. I found the whole idea of the twin ships with their differing characteristics quite appealing. I enjoyed the personal history of each character that received some authorial focus - particularly the stories of the adults. I liked all the twists and turns that came along - especially the contrasting development of Kieran and Waverly's characters. However, even though this was a compelling novel to read, it's the first in a proposed series and that compulsion doesn't really carry all the way through to the end of the novel. Yes, it ends on a cliffhanger and I'm curious to find out how the mission continues. BUT I don't feel an overwhelming NEED for the next book to BE IN MY HANDS NOW. It's more of a mild curiosity. This book had a few logical flaws throughout, but the breakneck pace and interesting plot make it easy to ignore these things. All in all, this was a really interesting novel that has the potential to find a big audience.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.